As it happened: Titanic 100th anniversary commemorations

Key points

  • • On 14 April 1912, 740 km from Newfoundland, the Titanic hit an iceberg at 2340 (Ship's Time)
  • • The iceberg scraped the ship’s starboard side
  • • At approximately 0218 the Titanic broke in two, with the bow going underwater
  • • Titanic’s 20 lifeboats could carry only 1,178 people
  • 1,512 died in the Titanic disaster
  • For more on the centenary, visit

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    Hello and welcome to the BBC's live coverage of the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic - from Belfast, Southampton, Cobh and the site of the sinking in the Atlantic. Coverage will begin at 06:00 BST


    The Titanic was built in Belfast by Harland and Wolff, and a memorial garden with the names of more than 1,500 victims of the disaster etched in bronze is being unveiled in the city centre. There is no distinction on the memorial between first-class passengers and others on board. The names of the dead are simply listed in alphabetical order.


    The cruise ship Balmoral has reached the site where the ship sank shortly before midnight.

    0610: @johnkay01

    Cruise passengers and crew gather on the deck of the Balmoral above the #Titanic site. Cold and quiet.

    Cruise passengers and crew gather on Balmoral
    0616: @BBCMarkSimpson

    Belfast ready for unveiling of bronze memorial to the 1,512 victims of #Titanic. Dead are listed in alphabetical order, not rank or class.

    0623: @endlesslyemily

    100 years ago, the Titanic was sinking... in about an hour there would be nothing left of the once 'unsinkable ship'.


    In 1985, the oceanographer Dr Robert Ballard discovered the wreck 2.5 miles (4km) below the surface of the north Atlantic. He has travelled to Belfast for a series of events, and is pictured here in front of the world's largest visitor centre which opened two weeks ago on the slipway where the Titanic was launched.

    Dr Robert Ballard
    0626: @rakesh_shenoy

    100 years ago, on this day, the RMS Titanic was lost in the north Atlantic Ocean during her maiden voyage. RIP the people lost with her.

    0627: @MacMcLeanTV

    Rest in peace to all those who died on this day, 100 years ago. #RMSTitanic #Titanic #100 #Years #Century


    Passengers and crew on board the memorial cruise ship Balmoral are holding a series of services marking the time the ship hit an iceberg and later sank 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. The BBC's Chris Buckler is one of those travelling on the ship. Click here to read his take on the atmosphere among the passengers as the liner draws closer to the wreck site.

    0631: @JacobFilegar

    100 years ago this hour, the Titanic was sinking. How incredible is it to get to experience its 100th anniversary.

    0631: Chris Buckler BBC News

    "The ocean is incredibly calm on board the Titanic memorial cruise, the ship swaying in the north Atlantic. All you can see is darkness, and people are standing and reflecting on what it would have been like on that night. There wasn't a big fuss when the MS Balmoral arrived at the wreck site, but people gradually became aware the ship was no longer moving."


    Video coverage is only available to users inside the UK. International users can listen to BBC Radio Ulster's coverage of the anniversary here.

    0635: @AdrianNicosia

    Rest in Peace to those who lost their lives on Titanic 100 years ago today.

    0638: William Blair, National Museums NI

    It is an incredibly powerful human story. The reaction at the time was one of disbelief. It was really the first global story of that significance and impact. The ripples went right across the world. There was a tremendous outpouring of sorrow. People could not get enough news - there was a voracious appetite of news. It is almost reminiscent of the Diana effect - people made that emotional connection to the story.

    06:42: Chris Buckler BBC News

    As you look out from the ship the only thing you can see is the distant lights from another vessel that has travelled from New York to mark the centenary.

    It is eerily silent. Among the passengers are those who had relatives on board the Titanic: some who died, some who survived. Rev Huw Mossford is leading the service.


    A moment's silence is being held on the MS Balmoral for those who perished on the Titanic.

    0647: Rev Huw Mosford on the Balmoral

    In a moment's silence, the deckboys will take the wreaths to the side of the ship; the whistle will sound and they will throw the wreaths into the sea.

    0650: karlbstumpf

    RIP Titanic and those that perished 100 years ago.

    0651: kyle_wolfe99

    It's haunting how exactly 100 years ago today the titanic was sinking and only first class woman and children were getting on lifeboats.

    0653: Chris Buckler BBC News

    As the ship's whistle sounded, the wreaths were cast into the water from three separate parts of the stern.

    Wreathes were cast into the water
    0652: @CH_LoisLegge

    Wreaths float in the darkness. More than 1500 RIP#Titanic100


    The anniversary is also being marked in Cobh on the south coast of County Cork, the last port of call for the Titanic. It was there its final 123 passengers boarded. They were mostly poor emigrants. Only 44 survived. Read the story of how eleven people from a single Irish village died on the Titanic.


    Video coverage is only available to users inside the UK. International users can listen to BBC Radio Ulster's coverage of the anniversary here.

    0659: William Blair, National Museums NI

    We wonder what would our chance of survival have been? There is the apparent injustice of why so many first class passengers survived, compared to second and third class.

    It appears that the most important body to be recovered was that of John Jacob Astor. His body was contained in a special casket. Most first class passengers were kept in wooden coffins. But it was third class passengers whose bodies were kept in canvas body bags and most were buried at sea.


    A memorial service is also being held in Southampton, where passengers boarded the Titanic on the fateful voyage to New York. Descendants of the victims are expected at the various services, and will lay wreaths and join in a minute's silence in memory of all those who died. More than 540 people from the city died in the disaster.

    0700: Julie McCullough BBC News

    It's a beautiful morning at Cobh harbour. You look out and can imagine what it must have been like 100 years ago. It was the last stop for the Titanic, but the ship was too big to get into the port, so people had to be taken out on a boat. Today is a sombre day in the town, which is marking the anniversary with a remembrance parade and a wreath-laying service.


    It's good to reflect on today and remember in our hearts that 100 years ago to the hour innocent people tragically lost their lives. In our thoughts and prayers today shall we remember them and shall they all be resting in peace. Thoughts and our love go out to all the families that lost loved ones.

    0704: stacydtwit

    RT @RMS_Titanic_Inc: April 15th 1:45am: The Carpathia hears the last report ever from Titanic. "Engine room full up to boilers"

    0706: FB: Jenny Lynn

    i was watching it, very moving xx

    0708: @jonkay01

    They were there. #Titanic wreck site.

    Passengers on board MS Balmoral
    0711: Niall \u00d3 Donnghaile \u200f @NiallSF Lord Mayor of Belfast

    Early start for official unveiling of the new Titanic Memorial Garden at Belfast City Hall. Monument lists all those 1512 souls who perished

    0713: Denis Rooney, Nomadic Charitable Trust

    Today, we are all getting a sense of the human aspect. We can also look forward to what we are providing for people who come to Belfast.

    0715: @BBCMarkSimpson

    Remembering #Titanic doctor John Simpson, my great-grandfather's cousin. No lifeboat for him. He died as he lived, helping others. RIP.


    Susie Millar is among those travelling on the Titanic memorial cruise. Her great grandfather Thomas Millar was an assistant deck engineer on board the Titanic and was lost in the tragedy. "I've been keeping it together until that moment when the wreaths were dropped overboard. I couldn't help but think about what it would have been like for him 100 years ago in those cold, desolate waters. He only wanted to make a new life for his two boys, who had already lost their mother, but they became orphans instead."

    0720: @BBCTitanic100

    William Blair: "There is the apparent injustice of why so many first class passengers survived, compared to second and third" #titanic


    Quite moving, and as I lay here pondering what it must have been like 100 years ago, I marvelled at the technology that was allowing me to watch a service being televised live on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic on a mobile phone.

    0720: @camilletrisha27

    Titanic is trending worldwide!. #Titanic100

    0724: @RMS_Titanic_Inc

    April 15th 2:18AM: All objects in Titanic plunge towards the bow and the ship's lights blink and go out. Survivors witness ship breaking.

    0724: @RMS_Titanic_Inc

    April 15th 2:20AM: The broken-off section of the stern settles back into water. It fills with water before sinking into the sea.

    0726: BBC Newsline

    Wreaths have been laid at the Titanic memorial in Southampton

    0730: David Hill, Titanic Story

    I go around and talk to schools. Children who previously had no interest in history find that the spark is lit by Titanic. This amazing ship is doing this, it will go from generation to generation. It is in our psyche now.


    Paul Andrews of the East Belfast Yacht club has built a replica model of the Titanic, which they have been sailing in Belfast Lough.

    Titanic replica model
    07:32: Jean Legg

    My father, Robert Hall from Southampton, was 18 and was a trainee steward on the Titanic. He survived, but died in 1983. To hear his voice in a recording this week was quite emotional. It has been a very mixed emotional week. It will go down in history forever.

    0733: Angelina Fusco

    @BBCTitanic100 @bbcnewsline Really emotional every time I see those underwater #Titanic pictures

    0734: @KirstyGardner

    all quiet on the Balmoral now. We watched the wreaths in the wash of the ship drift away. A poignant moment to mark the #Titanic sinking


    Have been reading about Titanic since I was 10... God rest all of the souls who perished. No one life should mean more than another

    07:37: Valerie Boyd in the North Altanic

    I felt very emotional about the service and the moment's silence. I believe that those that went down would have felt our presence. You could feel everybody's emotion. Nobody wanted to speak in case they were going to cry.


    The sinking is also being remembered in other parts of the globe. Venues in Las Vegas, San Diego, Houston and Singapore all host Titanic exhibitions.

    0739: HaydnParry

    Was privileged to attend the Titanic requiem in St Anne's cathedral in Belfast last night. Very moving.

    0739: @titanic_live

    Carpathia spots Lifeboat 2. The long process of bringing #Titanic survivors aboard begins.

    0739: @titanic_live

    The Carpathia has coffee, tea, and soup waiting. And three doctors have set up to treat passengers in the dining room.

    0741: @bbcnireland

    VIDEO: Service held on board MS Balmoral


    We only discovered this week that my late grandmother's uncle Alfred Augustus Stanbrook who worked as a fireman/stoker in the engine room was one of the victims of this terrible disaster. Grateful that his body was recovered and put to rest in Nova Scotia, but sad to think he wasn't home in Southampton. What a terrible shock for the families of this tragedy. Remembering you all.

    07:43: Una Reilly, Belfast Titanic Society

    Here we have a global icon that belongs to Belfast. We will never forget those who died. But let us use the hook of Titanic to bring new life to this area of the city which was the Cape Canaveral of its day.

    0744: @samuraiwriter99

    @dmscott Titanic was built in Belfast:

    0747: @BBCTitanic100

    Music is played during the memorial service onboard the MS Balmoral #titanic

    0749: Lord Mayor of Belfast Niall O'Donnghaile

    Very appropriate that here in Belfast, where the story all began, we're remembering all those who died.

    0750: @jonkay01

    Many tears shed at the #Titanic site. Relatives supporting one another on deck above the icy waters where their ancestors perished.


    Friends and I paid our respects and laid flowers at 5th Officer Harold Godfrey Lowe's grave - a hero of the Titanic at rest in Rhos, North Wales. Very moving but peaceful. Mike Griffiths. Mark Haigh + Lauren.

    0751: Mark Simpson in Belfast

    Preparations at City Hall are going on for a service which begins shortly after 09:00 BST: so many names, so many tragedies. A lot of the families of those who died are coming here. There is sadness but a sense of pride for what Belfast is finally doing for all those who died exactly 100 years ago.

    Titanic Preparations at Belfast City Hall
    07:52: Lord Mayor of Belfast Niall O'Donnghaile

    The monument at Belfast City Hall is very simple, but appropriate and fitting. This is the only monument that names all those who died on the Titanic. It is becoming known as the Belfast monument.

    0753: @fredmarden

    @BBCTitanic100 Immensely privileged to be over the wreck site of Titanic on the 96th anniversary, in 1996. It was on the #QE2. RIP.


    For more of our coverage on the 100th anniversary commemorations, visit the BBC's special report page at

    0757: @TitanicBelfast

    Fascinating, enduring stories on BBC Two NI today as we commemorate Titanic. #titanic @TitanicBelfast

    07:59: William Blair, National Museums NI

    Thomas Andrews (who designed the ship) was genuinely a hero and someone of whom we can be very proud. He conducted himself in a heroic manner as the tragedy unfolded. The loss of Thomas Andrews was a grievous blow, not only on a personal level for his family, but also for the shipyard itself.

    0801: \u200f@ajwegman

    @bbctitanic100 As someone who pored over the National Geo coverage in the mid-80s, the latest underwater footage is stunning


    One of the most evocative images of the Titanic disaster is that of the young newsboy outside the White Star Line offices London, holding an Evening News bill announcing Titanic Disaster Great Loss of Life.

    He was Ned Parfett and his death just as tragic, as that of Titanic. Six and a half years after the familiar photograph was taken, Ned was killed during a German bombardment while serving with the British army in France, just days before the Armistice. He was 22.

    0802: @FuscoTV

    @BBCBreakfast @bbcnewsline @BBCTitanic100 next live from Cobh then Chris Buckler in Atlantic

    0803: @maritimeaccide

    @BBCTitanic100 Titanic led to SOLAS and IMO, which have saved lives since.

    0805: @BBCTitanic100

    Lord Mayor of Belfast Niall O'Donnghaile "This is the only monument that names all those who died on the #Titanic.

    0806: @RMS_Titanic_Inc

    April 15th 3:00AM: Lifeboats observe rockets fired by the Carpathia.

    0806: @RMS_Titanic_Inc

    April 15th 3:00AM: Water became quiet; screams from the water stopped.

    0808: Prof Robert Ballard who found the Titanic

    I did not really expect to be emotionally tied to this ship. There were two people inside me that morning when we made the discovery. My initial professional reaction was one of joy. We found it at 2am and she sank at 2.20am.

    But my second reaction was one as a person. I felt very sad that I should be celebrating finding the Titanic. We saw the shoes. Those who went into the water perished in less than 30 minutes. They went down to the bottom. We realised it was really a cemetery.

    0809: @FuscoTV

    @bbcnewsline Noel Thompson is preparing to host Belfast memorial service at city hall

    08:10: Susie Millar on the MS Balmoral in the Atlantic

    As night fell, an eeriness descended, the stars were so bright and it was calm - it was reminiscent of what it would have been like 100 years ago.

    It was almost like having a funeral service for Tommy, my great grandfather. His body was never recovered. What was good about tonight was that there were about 23 or 24 families represented and this affected the rest of their lives so terribly. We were all united in paying tribute to these souls who lost their lives. It's been a privilege to be on board.

    0811: @stepbar

    Standing beside the Heraldic Male Voice in #Belfast singing Nearer My God To Thee. Wow. They're amazing. #titanic

    0814: @BBCSurrey

    Possibly the most dramatic, poignant, frantic #Titanic audio you will hear: radio messages as it sank.

    08:23: Mark Simpson

    Brian Kennedy is rehearsing for the memorial service outside Belfast City Hall. The new memorial garden is small but powerful.


    Dr Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck in 1985: "The last few days have been emotional in Belfast, where I've been meeting relatives of those who died on the Titanic. I believe if we hadn't discovered the wreck, the Titanic wouldn't have the same resonance today.

    "I was conscious at the time that it was a cemetery. While the bodies would have vanished in the waters, what really brought it home was the pairs of shoes.

    "I'm concerned that the wreck site should be preserved. With more trips to the site, it brings more garbage, and protocols to protect the wreck are needed. You wouldn't go to the Louvre and rub your fingers on the Mona Lisa."

    08:25: Gillian Wicklow

    My grandfather, Tommy Millar, left his two sons at the quay side waving him goodbye. He left two pennies with the boys when he sailed off and asked his sons to keep them until he came back. But he never came back.

    0826: @BBCTitanic100

    A little girl commemorates her great grandfather, Arthur Ward, who perished on the #Titanic.


    We had a family friend who was a riveter on the Titanic and went on the sea trails. He lived to 102. On his 100th birthday he was invited to the shipyard.

    0827: @bbcnewsline

    see @bbcnewsline special prog 'Ryan v White Star Line' - how 1 man took on #titanic's owners & won. @bbconeni 17th April @ 2235


    A piper plays as the Titanic torch-light procession reached Belfast City Hall on Saturday night.

    08:38: Brian Henry Martin, film critic

    My favourite Titanic film is A Night to Remember. As a six-year-old boy, Belfast-born producer William MacQuitty watched Titanic being launched. There are no fictional characters in A Night to Remember because the drama itself is enough and it is never finished.

    0848: \u200f @BBCMarkSimpson

    On the guest list for the opening of the Titanic Memorial Garden in Belfast is X Files actress Gillian Anderson. Strange but true.


    Jane Allen's great uncle, Thomas Pears, was one of those who perished on the Titanic. She is on board the memorial cruise, and said the service made her appreciate what he had gone through. "You're 400 miles minimum from anywhere. There wasn't another ship on the horizon. It was just so eerily quiet. And then you look down over the side of the ship and you realise that every man and woman who was not fortunate enough to get into a lifeboat had to make that decision of when to jump or to stay with the ship until the lights went out. When the lights went out it must have been horrendous. We witnessed that tonight."

    08:50: Malcolm Cheape

    My great grandfather, Joseph Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line, never talked to his family about what happened. He was deeply traumatised. He was getting letters from strangers asking about their relatives. Longer term, he must have looked back and wished he had never been there. He wasn't the man he is portrayed as... he deserves some justice.

    0851: @sugarhanna

    RT @mellarkable__: RIP to every single person who's life was lost on the RMS Titanic, and remember those who sacrificed themselves so others could survive.

    0851: @bbctwoni

    At 9am we'll be joining Noel Thompson live at Belfast City Hall for the #Titanic Memorial Service.


    One of those who drowned on the Titanic was Patrick Ryan, a cattle dealer from County Limerick. His heartbroken father wanted to hold to account the company which built the ship, the White Star Line. He took legal action in a London court and won. The story is the subject of a BBC Northern Ireland documentary to be broadcast at 22:35 on Tuesday, Ryan versus the White Star Line.

    His great-granddaughter Fiona Lane says: "He went to London at almost 80 years of age and took on the biggest shipping company in the world. It was a remarkable thing to do, but the fact that he won is amazing altogether. It was because his grief was so immense, and it took huge courage."


    The odium attached to the name Ismay, after White Star boss Bruce survived the sinking of Titanic, may have influenced the result of the 1913 Derby. Craganour, owned by younger brother Bower Ismay, crossed the line first, but was disqualified in controversial circumstances.

    0858: @nofarlilygibaly

    BBC News - Titanic: Journey to the bottom of the ocean

    08:59: Mark Simpson, BBC News

    People have gathered at the east wing of Belfast's City Hall - the sunny side as it is known. People from politics, music and entertainment, as well as relatives of those who died on that freezing night, are here. The colour scheme of the flowers in the garden is blue and white to represent water. Among the flowers are forget-me-nots.

    0903: Noel Thompson, BBC Newsline

    There has been a memorial statue at this site (Belfast City Hall) since 1920.


    The sun starts to rise over the site where the Titanic sank in the mid Atlantic.


    OinkyPigg: For all those wondering why we should remember the Titanic beyond the loss of life... its sinking led to the foundation of the International Ice Patrol and helped get rid of the antiquated law that the number of lifeboats be based solely on ship tonnage. The loss of 1,512 men, women, and children was a terrible price to pay, but it has helped save countless lives since.


    Susan: It is right that the 100th anniversary of the loss of Titanic passengers is remembered. Those who've never lost someone, especially to the sea, will not understand moments of collective remembrance. I lost my brother to the ocean and will never forget it, even if I lived to be 1,000 years old. It's far from petty, but a tiny healing. Bless them all.

    09:12: Niall O'Donnghaile, Belfast Lord Mayor

    Today is about commemoration. We remember those who died. I am proud of how far Belfast has come since 1912 and I am proud of how we are commemorating the 1,512 people who lost their lives.

    0912: @TitanicRealTime

    #Carpathia The captain has not been found. The officers say the last they saw of him was entering the bridge shortly before she went under.


    Emm: The Titanic had one of the most sophisticated safety features of its time, including 16 watertight compartments with remotely activated watertight doors. She was not the problem; blame the antiquated safety regulations and the captain's actions.


    A maternal grandfather of one of my friends had a ticket for that maiden voyage, but he missed it. Just think... Ruth

    0916: @BBCMarkSimpson

    Why is X Files star Gillian Anderson at Belfast service? @patriciamacb: She's currently filming a five-part BBC drama in the city called "The Fall"

    0918: Dan Gordon, actor

    At the shipyard, I think they built 1,700 other ships. My father worked on the Canberra, the last boat. There is a history of painters, engineers and crane drivers in my family. I missed out and maybe I'm the worse for it.

    Dan Gordon
    09:25: Una Reilly, Belfast Titanic Society

    There was never shame, it was shock. How could this have happened to us?

    We met 10 times a year and even after all this time, I'm never bored. Recently we have discovered someone we have been looking for, for a long time, May Sloan who was a stewardess on board.

    Today, the focus of the world is on Belfast and we are doing her proud.

    0927: @EllvenaGraham

    Soooooo very proud of Belfast this week. Successfully married celebration with commemoration. #titanic @ni2012Live @TitanicBelfast

    0929: @xxamukxx

    It took days for information to reach land about survivors #Titanic many early reports say all survived #Titanic100


    The city hall monument bearing the names of the victims of the disaster is nine metres long.

    09:43: Noel Thompson, BBC News at Belfast City Hall

    The plaque is bronze on five sections of granite. On the plaques are the names of all the victims of the Titanic disaster 100 years today.

    Wreaths are laid by Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile; by Jack Martin, great nephew of John Simpson and a third wreath by David McVeigh on behalf of shipbuilders Harland and Wolff.

    09:45: Noel Thompson, BBC News

    After a minute's silence, the families are invited to lay their own floral tributes. This great ship survived only two weeks from being launched to sinking, but it has left an indelible mark on the world. The ceremony ends with the hymn, Nearer My God To Thee.


    Watching this online. It is very moving and emotional. The city hall garden is a fitting location where the people of our province can remember those who perished and not be ashamed, but very proud.

    0952: @BBCTitanic100

    The memorial ceremony at Belfast City Hall ends with the hymn, Nearer My God To Thee. #Titanic

    09:52: Chris Buckler BBC News

    Here in the north Atlantic we are sailing away from the site where the Titanic sank and the wreckage still lies. Those who survived went on to form families who came together on this ship to talk about what happened to their ancestors. The Titanic still captivates so much attention. Today was about sombre reflection after moments of excitement.

    The families on the MS Balmoral will travel on to Halifax, Nova Scotia to visit the graves of some of those who died and then on to New York... completing the journey that some of their relatives never made.

    0953: @GilesBlundell

    @BBCTitanic100 The bells of Liverpool Parish Church rang a full peal yesterday to commemorate the Titanic #phbells


    My great uncle Anthony Wood Frost (Artie) was one of the guarantee group who went from Harland and Wolff. He lost his life in the engine rooms keeping the lights going as the ship sank. We are all very proud of him.

    Anthony Wood Frost
    0955: @BBCMarkSimpson

    The new Titanic memorial with all 1,512 victim names:

    0955: @JosephFuccio91

    @BBCTitanic100 my great great grandad was a survivor from the engine rooms on the Titanic! He lived until 1922! RIP Alfred White!

    0956: FB: Kathy Holdsworth

    It may be 100 years but let's never forget those people who died when the Titanic sank. Let's also never forget those people who died building the ship.

    0958: @FuscoTV

    @BBCTitanic100 if you missed any of today's #Titanic programme @bbcnewsline we have highlights at 2225 on @bbconeni


    As the unveiling ceremony of the Titanic memorial garden ends at Belfast City Hall, less than a mile from where the Titanic was built, we bring our live coverage of the Titanic commemorations to an end. For further comprehensive coverage of ongoing events, visit our special news page at


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